Retro gaming on your Vita

I'm getting a Mega Drive Mini today (a birthday treat that I can't open until later), and will be pre-ordering the PC Engine CoreGrafx Mini. But, as I have the world's greatest portable in my hands, what can you retro game on the mighty Vita, or a PSP if you still have one?

I love a good retro day, not needing to worry about trophies, performance issues and remembering endless controller options. What I do worry is that so many games are hard to find or play, like the Atari vector Star Wars games, or the Bally games like Tapper, Mikie and Spy Hunter (not the terrible modern version) or Irem's Kung Fu Master and Moon Patrol (without going the emulator route).

But for all the holes in the retro world, there's still plenty to enjoy in short retro-bursts. Note: I'm not going into individual releases like the many Mega Man games or upgrades (Ultimate Ghosts n Goblins), that's another article. And yes, I've probably missed a few collections, while others may simply have vanished, nudge me if you remember one that's accessible!

Into the history books

Naturally, there's all the PSP and a decent list of PSone games to grab directly from PSN, including the original Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, Rayman and Vagrant Story among others. But that's not very retro is it? (depending on your age I guess). The odd thing is, despite the growing interest in retro, most of the Vita's offerings come from the PSP days.

There's the PSP Mega Drive (or Genesis) Collection, offering Sonic the Hedgehog, Golden Axe, Phantasy Star and Virtua Fighter 2 among 28 releases of varying quality.

Going even further back, arcade nostalgia fans can grab the two PSP Capcom Classics Collections, that include Street Fighter II (various versions), 1942, 1943, Gun Smoke, Ghosts n Goblins, Mercs, Strider, Black Tiger and many more. And the more you play, the more art and cheats you open up for each game as a reward!

Making this nostalgia trip even stranger is one of the Vita's most recent releases that takes us all the way back to the dawn of gaming with Atari Flashback Classics. This (sold old) physical offering has some 150 games from the early Atari consoles. From the simple fun of Breakout to Tempest, Centipede and many other classics.

American PSN does it better

If you have a Vita with a |US PSN account, you can grab Namco's five PSone retro bundles that include Pole Position, various Pac Man titles, Galaxians, DigDug, Metro Cross, Dragon Spirit and more.

There's also SNK Arcade Classics, with a great roster of beat em ups including Fatal Fury, King of Fighters, plus lots of Metal Slug and sports games. Metal Slug is available in various forms with Metal Slug 3 getting a recent release. Or, if you want to remote play, the 2019 SNK 40th Anniversary PS4 collection.

Physical Options

Annoyingly, a lot of retro compilations never made it to PSN or have been removed over time. Taito Legends Power-Up is another PSP mixed bag with everything from Space Invaders to New Zealand Story and Rastan Saga.


Retro Modern

Even if you don't really have much of an interest in old games but like the aesthetic, there are plenty of new games that ride the retro wave, from Super Life of Pixel, the isometric Lumo to Habroxia, all making use of modern computing power to deliver that classic feel.

And, of course, sometimes interest in an old or abandoned game from the dev community brings us the likes of WindJammers and the shiny Ultracore.

There there are those who pick up and run with classic ideas like H.E.R.O., in the fresh guise of Bobby Bombastic.

All of which means, short of buying those knock off consoles, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy gaming history!